Coronavirus updates in SC: Unemployment claims fall, CVS adding testing sites
This is a developing story that will be updated throughout the day with the latest news about the coronavirus pandemic and its effects in Upstate South Carolina.
SC COVID-19 map:County-by-county look at coronavirus cases
Coronavirus noticias en Carolina del Sur: Empresas que suponen contacto cercano pueden reabrir
Greenville Municipal Court is in session
Anyone with a scheduled or rescheduled case in Greenville Municipal Court are still expected to appear, a city spokeswoman said Thursday evening.
There has been some confusion on Municipal Court proceedings due to COVID-19, but city spokeswoman Beth Brotherton said court is still in session and staff are taking precautions against the virus.
"If you have retained an attorney who has requested a jury trial on your behalf, you do not need to appear on the date indicated on your original citation," Brotherton emailed Thursday. "Otherwise, if you have received a traffic citation, been arrested for a municipal court charge or have otherwise been summoned to appear in Greenville Municipal Court, you should plan to appear on your scheduled court date."
Bench trials have been cut back to prevent spread of COVID-19, and court dates have been set to limit the number of people inside the courthouse and in courtrooms.
Anyone entering the courthouse will undergo a temperature screening. If someone's temperature is higher than 100.4 degrees, they will be turned away and their case will be continued.
Simpsonville playgrounds reopen Saturday
Simpsonville playgrounds, public restrooms and shelters, closed since March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, will open Saturday, according to a city spokesman.
Heritage Park Railway, a replica locomotive train, will also reopen Saturday. City parks reopened last month.
Parks & Recreation Director Robbie Davis said the phased opening is meant to balance public health and quality of life.
“Public health is the top priority for the City of Simpsonville and Parks & Recreation Department, and that has guided us in deciding what to reopen and when to do so,” Davis said in a prepared statement.
Simpsonville is also participating in Park Hop, a free summer-long scavenger hunt across Greenville County.
DHEC reports 156 new infections, 4 deaths
State health officials reported 156 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and said four more people with the disease have died, including one elderly person from Greenville County.
South Carolina has confirmed 10,788 cases of COVID-19, and 470 people with the disease have died.
As of May 27, private and public labs conducted 187,788 tests for COVID-19 in South Carolina.
TL Hanna, Westside to hold in-person graduations
Anderson County's largest school district announced Thursday it will hold in-person graduations for its nearly 800 graduates from TL Hanna and Westside High Schools.
Graduations will be held at the school's respective football stadiums June 4 at 10 a.m., with special measures in place because of the threat of COVID-19, according to Kyle Newton, the spokesman for Anderson School District 5.
Anderson University to open for fall with revised schedule
Anderson University plans to open its campus for in-person classes under a revised plan that will have classes beginning early and ending before Thanksgiving break, according to a press release from the university.
Online summer classes, which have primarily been online in the past, are already underway.
In-person fall classes would begin on Aug. 19 with the last day of in-person instruction on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Exams would take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, according to the release.
Classes would meet on Labor Day and fall break would be eliminated.
American workers face the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression.
As states begin to reopen their economies, we took a look at what the future could look like in key drivers of commerce in Greenville and Anderson. The "Rebuilding America" project was begun by USA TODAY in order to capture what America would look like as state economies slowly reopen.
New unemployment claims fall again
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce issued its weekly summary of new claims early Thursday, and the total for the week ending May 22 came to 24,950, a decrease of nearly 4,500 new claims from the week before.
It was the sixth straight week of declines in new claims, though total claims remain near all time highs, and the state's $1 billion unemployment insurance fund is declining by about $60 million a week.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March, the agency reports that new claims have totaled 540,545 in South Carolina.
While new claims continue to come in, another metric — continued claims — suggests the employment outlook for South Carolina is improving.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, continued claims from jobless workers were down during the week that ended May 16 compared to the week before. Specifically, they fell from 268,701 to 256,676. This is the most recent data available for continued claims, and it was the first week of declines since March 21.
Also falling was the jobless rate among so-called "insured" workers, meaning workers eligible to receive unemployment benefits. These are workers whose employers pay into the system. During the week of May 9, the jobless rate rose to a high of 12.87%. The week ending May 16, it fell to 12.3%.
CVS adding 15 COVID testing sites in South Carolina
On Friday, CVS Health is opening 15 new COVID-19 test sites at CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations across the state.
Self-swab tests will be conducted at the sites for people meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, in addition to state and age guidelines, according to a press release from CVS Health.
Those interested in testing must pre-register at cvs.com.
Patients will stay in their vehicles for the tests and will be provided a test kit and instructions. Tests will be processed at an independent third-party lab with results available in about three days, according to the release.
New Upstate testing sites include:
CVS Pharmacy, 1405 East Greenville Street, Anderson, SC 29621
CVS Pharmacy, 1300 Tiger Boulevard, Clemson, SC 29631
CVS Pharmacy, 2210 Laurens Road, Greenville, SC 29607
CVS Pharmacy, 3901 Pelham Road, Greenville, SC 29615
CVS Pharmacy, 3300 Wade Hampton Boulevard, Greenville, SC 29687
CVS Pharmacy, 1751 East Main Street, Spartanburg, SC 29307
Here's what to know Thursday
- Rick Toomey, the director of South Carolina's public health agency, announced his intention to resign on June 10. Toomey said he has health concerns and wanted to spend time with family.
- The South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a case brought by Democrats that sought to allow any voter to cast an absentee ballot in order to avoid polling places during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Greenville County libraries are gradually offering more services, beginning with exterior book returns on Wednesday. Library patrons can begin picking up books curbside at the Hughes Main Library some days next week.
- Greenville County Schools graduation ceremonies will look different this year. Here's what to expect. The school district is also considering other changes for the next school year, like starting school 15 minutes earlier.
- Clemson University students meanwhile are dealing with the distance in online learning. About 1,200 students disconnected from school altogether.
- State health officials on Wednesday reported 20 people with COVID-19 had died, the highest number of deaths related to the virus in one day. There were also 207 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed.